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Upholding its commitment to do its part in conserving and preserving the natural environment, the Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA) partnered with Visit Wales to ensure its 2017 Adventure Travel World Summit was a carbon net zero event. To offset the carbon footprint created by the event, held in Salta, Argentina, in October 2017, 4,000 nursery-grown native trees will be planted in Las Costas Nature Preserve on the outskirts of the Argentinian city. These trees are expected to sequester a minimum of 1,429 tons of carbon dioxide over the course of 26 years.
Nearly 30 species of trees will be planted over a surface of 84 acres (34 hectares) of degraded seasonal lowland subtropical forest on the outskirts of Salta. The area is a transitional forest between a subtropical cloud forest in the uplands and a dry subtropical chaco forest in the bottom of the Lerma Valley. Planting will take place over 16 weeks, starting in early December 2017 and ending by late March 2018.
The chosen area was cleared in the past for cattle ranching, and resulting grasslands were set on fire regularly during several decades to suppress growth. After the nature preserve was established and fire suppressed, growth was stimulated and has slowly been regenerating. However, active restoration and intentional planting of trees is necessary in order to recover the original forest structure. The planting area for these 4,000 trees will be divided into seven sub-zones, each of which will be planted with 570 native trees.
Additionally, the planting will include five tiers. The fifth strata is vital for many species (especially birds), and often doesn’t regenerate when forests regrow on their own due to high competition from other plants.
“Each year we want to be more intentional and focused on the impact of our events,” said Casey Hanisko, the ATTA’s president of business services and events. “The opportunity to plant trees in Salta, the location of the Summit, was an amazing opportunity to support the community hosting our delegation and enable them to progress on a path that supports a healthy ecosystem for Salta and our planet.”
Fulfillment of this initiative was made possible by the generous partnership with Visit Wales. “Visit Wales was proud to support the ATTA’s Summit as a sustainability partner,” said Lauren Summers, director of marketing, North America, for Visit Wales. “Wales, as a country, is dedicated to the concept of carbon neutrality. We believe that travelers visiting Wales will encounter our country’s commitment to protecting the environment — such an important cultural and economic resource for the region — in the form of our unspoiled landscapes, green hotels, award-winning blue flag beaches, and our commitment to sustainable energy. We look forward to welcoming environmentally aware travelers to Wales during our Year of the Sea in 2018 and to sharing our passion for preserving land, sea, and sky for generations to come.”
This is the second year the ATTA has committed to hosting a large-scale net-zero carbon event. At its annual industry event in 2016, which was held in Anchorage, Alaska, the organization partnered with Costa Rica adventure company Rios Tropicales and the Anchorage Convention & Visitors Bureau to offset more than 1,200 tons of carbon dioxide by planting 5,000 trees on the Rios Tropicales Private Rainforest Reserve by the Pacuare River in Bajo Tigre de Siquirres in Costa Rica. Known as the International Carbon Neutrality Project Alaska-Costa Rica, that effort was recognized by the Latin American Green Awards (Premios Latinoamerica Verde).